We just returned on Sunday 23 Feb from my 27th cruise and 21st cruise on Princess. I have never been so nervous about getting on a cruise ship in my life because of all the bad reviews about the Royal Princess. Not one single concern that has been written on this ship came to pass. It is now time for the reviewers of this ship to get a life about the Royal Princess. Let's take this step by step.
1. Boarding at Port Everglades was extremely quick. Yes, I'm an Elite Level Princess cruiser and did get in an express line at 12:15pm and was on the ship by 12:45pm. I was watching the regular check-in line at it was moving at a brisk pace. If you want no wait getting on the ship then get to the port about 1:30pm. Our luggage was at our room when we got to the cabin. We were in the front of the ship in L108 which is now a Premium Mini-Suite. The only downside to this room is that it is hard to get full use of the HUGE balcony when the ship is underway.
2. Yes, the elevators were slow when we boarded, but they were being used to get luggage on board and dispersed throughout the ship. During the cruise, I never waitied more than two minutes for an elevator at either end of the ship or near the Center elevator grouping. The doors are alittle slow in closing, but with the number of people using wheelchairs and walkers to get around the ship it was safer this way. Enough about the elevators.
3. The center staircase issue is a non-starter. It is way too easy to walk a little bit and use the stairs at either end. The stairs in the center of the ship will get you easily between Level 5 - Level 7.
4. The Enclave in the Spa is worth every penny of the $199.00 they are asking for its use for the week. They do limit the number of passes to the first 40 people that sign up. The massage special of $119.00 for the Royal Massage Special was one of the best I have ever had on a cruise. I did not want the mini-facial, so they just added extra time to the massage. The folks running the spa were extremely friendly and professional. My mother who was traveling with us used the Beauty Shop and loved the way they did her hair.
5. The Horizon Court -- So what if you have to walk around to see the tremendous number of different entree's being offered. This was the best food I have ever experienced on Princess. We do not use the Anytime Dining so I cannot comment on that area of the ship. The Bakery Section in the HC was outstanding. Time to stop whining about the food there.
6. As suggested, we ate at Alfredo's for one of our dinner's. The menu is limited in the type of pizza's they offer, but what we ordered was great.
7. International Cafe -- Awesome fresh and hot doughnuts in the morning. Did not get the Speciality Coffee Card, but the folks that I talked too seemed to enjoy the different coffee / tea drinks.
8. Crown Grill was outstanding was always!
9. The pools are limited on the Lido Deck and yes it was crowded up there, but never over-crowded. Great area in the evening for Movies Under The Stars. If you want more pool area reserve the private Sanctuary for the week. People tried to get up there at 7:30am everyday without alot of luck. Not a big deal to me.
10. The casino had a great selection of Slot Machines and they seemed always busy.Did not see many people winning at them though. The Table Games were excellent and even though I wound up down for the trip, I really enjoyed the professional running the Casino. The Electronic Poker Table was busy every evening with 1 - 2 No Limit games. They also had numerous $60 Texas Hold-em tournaments.
11. The special guest shows were good for a cruise ship with the Beatlemaniacs and an excellent comic. The ships company entertainment I though was just okay. At no time did I ever see people not able to get into any of the 3 shows at 6:45, 8:30, or 10:15pm.
12. I'm not going to comment on the ports asI have been to all of these in the past.
Finally, The Royal Princess is a beautiful vessel. She is clean and everything is up to date. Yes, there are some minor things that seasoned Princess Cruisers will find different than the other ships. To that I say Who Cares! This was a great vacation and I would not hesitate for one second to go on her again.